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Richmond Art Centre oral history collection
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Alfie Kamitakahara interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Alfie Kamitakahara : Japanese in Steveston - community life and evacuation RECORDED: Vancouver (B.C.), 1972?-08-15 SUMMARY: Alfie Kamitakahara discusses the Japanese and their community life in Steveston, and their evacuation during World War II. [Very little documentation is available for this tape.];

Art Moore interview

CALL NUMBER: T2049:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Art Moore RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-01-27 SUMMARY: Art Moore started fishing in 1930 when he got his first license. You were not allowed in those days to get a license until you were 14 years old. He tells of how he went fishing when he was 13 and hid in the boat from the fisheries officer, as he had no license. He says the fisheries officer knew he was there but he never interfered with Art. The license cost $1.00. That fisheries officer is dead now. Pollution so bad in the North Arm that the vast number of salmon going up has been drastically reduced, due to mills, etc. Claims that the mills dump their vats into the river when everyone is sleeping. Millions of fish have been killed by pollution. "If they don't watch this a little closer there won't be a salmon left". "The Fraser is the largest spawning salmon river in the world". Moore also attributes the decrease in salmon to the population explosion and consequential raw sewage outfall. Moore caught typhoid on the Fraser and also a disease on his face. Deep-water ships used to come into the Terra Nova Cannery. Now these ships can't get within 5 miles of the cannery on account of the fill on the river and the flats. Recounts a story of one of his friends, Mr. Takahashi, who celebrated the bombing of Pearl Harbour: "They actually believed that they were going to take our country". Of all they boys that Art Moore went to school with (in his last year) he is the only one still alive. Recounts the story of a classmate named Yeta who had poor eyesight and was a good friend of his. When Yeta was 18 he had to go to Japan for military training and he was put into the front lines (in a trench) in the Manchurian War and was machine-gunned to death by a bi-plane. Recounts the story of another friend who went to Japan for military training and came back selling bonds. Art Moore claims that the Japanese-Canadians got paid more for their boats and land than they ever paid for them. CALL NUMBER: T2049:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Art Moore RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-01-29 SUMMARY: Art Moore recounts stories of incidents concerning Japanese submarines on the B.C. coast during the War (the shelling of Estevan Point etc.) Recounts the story of Jack Homer who got a shell from a Canadian war vessel show through his bow (this happened on the B.C. coast).

Art Moore, Ed Peterson, and Harry Duff interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-01-16 SUMMARY: Art Moore started fishing in 1930. Harry Duff started fishing in 1934. Ed Peterson started fishing in 1936. The size of the boats have not changed much and there are still one man boats. The style of the boat has changed a little. Linen nets were used in Art Moore's time. Cotton nets were only used in emergencies. Linen nets were strong, made from Irish linen and were expensive. Net size and depth regulations are discusses. Art Moore first began to fish in the Middle Arm of the Fraser River in a "skiff" powered by hand. Most boats were originally made of wood. Harry Duff relates how electronics have changed fishing and navigation. Radio telephone, echo sounder, radar, automatic pilot, and sonar have all appeared since they started fishing in the 1930s. Art Moore has noticed no change in the quality of the salmon since 1930. The size of the salmon has decreased over the years, which Art Moore attributes to the numbers of fish spawning and the amount of feed available. Harry Duff says he enjoyed fishing during the War because he had more time to fish and the fish weren't quite so depleted. They discuss Japanese fishermen and their internment during the War. Art Moore states that pollution on the Fraser has become dangerous to the fishing industry: "Not only do you get indecency to the fish but to your own self".;

Bob Atchison interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Bob Atchison RECORDED: Richmond (B.C.), 1976-03-05 SUMMARY: Bob Atchison first started work in 1932 at the St. Mungo Cannery, one of the second or third earliest canneries on the Fraser River. Used four-spindle machinery, a type of seaming equipment used with sanitary cans. Prior to WWI, St. Mungo made its own cans. Describes canning process, and skill of Chinese workers. Discusses different machines used. Discusses living conditions and different nationalities of workers at the canneries. Canneries had nurseries. Paid by the hour, except when filling cans by hand, which was paid by the tray. There were 36 cans on a tray. He worked for 15 cents an hour in 1926, on machinery. Describes the exact canning process of salmon in the early 1900s. Talks about the sailing ships that were tied up on the Fraser River. In those days the canneries always supplied their own fish boats. In those days it was a 25 foot double ended sailing boat with a set of big oars and a man would row it. These boats brought in great amounts of fish because there were terrific amounts in the Fraser River. The collecting of fish was usually done by a tugboat pulling a scow around. The early boats didn't range so far. The first cannery in B.C. was the Annieville in Gunnerson Slough. Explains the story behind the name of the Annieville Cannery. Didn't notice any discrimination in those days, the Japanese were fishermen, the Chinese were shore workers, everyone got along fine. The better the machinery got the more people were employed because there was more fish processed. Discusses cannery output. Discusses unions. Believes the canneries didn't object to the unions coming in because it settled an awful lot of labour problems. Discusses the labour problems before the War. No fixed hours of work, poor working conditions, unfavourable living conditions. Some of the boats were pretty crude and there weren't any facilities on them. Companies welcomed the coming of unions. Remembers working at St. Mungo Cannery for $60.00 a month with board, with no overtime.

Bob Smith interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Bob Smith RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-01-22 SUMMARY: Bob Smith was born on Lulu Island at Steveston Hwy. Near the golf course in 1906. His father was a fisherman and also worked for Imperial Cannery in the net loft. He started fishing in the Rivers Inlet in 1926 with Wallace Fisheries, as wharfman, then to the Balmoral Cannery on the Skeena River in 1933. Lots of fish in those days. Worked in canneries all over Queen Charlottes, up the Skeena, Canadian Fish and B.C. Packers. Converted a sailboat on the Skeena into a gillnetter with a Chev engine. Took 16 days to come from the Skeena to the Fraser River. Fished with it for 4 or 5 years. Describes the conversion of the sailboat into a gillnetter. Returned to cannery work. Built another boat at Nelson ship yards, a bigger one (31 feet) at the time of the return of the Japanese. Nets these days are more efficient (tape become inaudible). Catches have become smaller, problem of conservation, not enough fish to catch. 12 mile limit is not enough. Long hours fishing in the old days, pulling the net by hand until drums were used. He stays mostly in the river now. Was a union member from the start. Talks of early union organizing difficulties. Talks of Japanese internment, too bad they had to; lose their nets, gradually they returned to the coast. There was not much discrimination between Indians and Japanese and whites. Housing conditions described. Housed were improved in 1926-1927 for Japanese, Indians, and whites. Safety measures improved with union. Bookkeepers were the first-aid men. American Can replaced canning by hand. There's more independence from the canneries now. Fraser River has changed a lot. Pollution affects the fingerlings, especially dog-salmon. Fishing regulations are a help but the fisheries department needs more money for its programs. Salmon enhancement programs have been worthwhile. Buy-back program has not been successful, too many seiners now. Future of fishing is ok if there is more money put into it and the 200 mile limit is enforced.

Charles Deagle interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Charles Deagle RECORDED: Richmond (B.C.), 1976-03-07 SUMMARY: Charles Deagle discusses his father, Billy Deagle, who worked for B.C. Electric as a conductor for 39 years. His father would take trainloads of halibut out of the cold storage plant in Steveston and take them to Vancouver. Discusses how his father brought the first trainload of Japanese to Steveston during the fishing strike in which the militia were used. The Japanese were brought in to break the strike. There wasn't another strike until 1936. Stagecoaches used to run out of Steveston. Describes early Steveston and Richmond, noting buildings, locations, people, and businesses. Discusses the several fires in Steveston. He attended Lord Byng school. Everybody got along well in the town because they were all busy making a living. Lots of drinking and bootlegging in those days. Big train station in Steveston at one time with freight shed. Discusses Moffat & Martin which imported Model T Ford cars and Ford tractors by the trainload. Moffat was a smart operator and Martin was on the work end. One year Moffat sold so many cars that Henry Ford gave him an especially built car as a bonus. The Japanese are good neighbours and good people. When WWII broke out it was terrible for the Japanese people. He entrusted with many belongings including 4 new cars, to look after until the war ended. He kept all of these until the custodian made him give them up. Some people thought that the Japanese were a threat during the War but they did not really know them. He lived with them and did not see them as anything but good people. After the War the canneries helped get the Japanese back into the industry by providing boats and gear. He built boats for Nelson Brothers at an old American army base in Port Edward. Later he became a fish buyer, and discusses his success. Unions and co-ops. Discusses pollution in the Fraser River. The Gulf of Georgia is just a big septic tank. He was so competitive to the companies that the cannery manager wouldn't talk to him during the fish season.

Charles Dumont interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Charles Dumont RECORDED: Vancouver (B.C.), 1976-04-06 SUMMARY: Charles Dumont began fishing on Lesser Slave Lake in northern Alberta. Used small open boats and also ice fished. The nets were set, anchored on the bottom; they don't drift like in the ocean. Caught whitefish, pickerel, jack-fish, and suckers. Most of the fishermen were Metis Indian fishermen, and Whites. Low prices for fish. There were no canneries; they were all shipped fresh and frozen in refrigerated railway cars. Fishing not like in B.C.; you move to a deeper part of the lake as the weather gets warmer. They fished the lake out by using herring nets; of course they killed everything. The fish buyer became a millionaire, so he must have been getting something out of it. They brought in fish spawn from other lakes and hatched it in the hatchery and brought the fish back. He was in Vancouver during the Depression. There were squatters shacks in False Creek. When he came to Vancouver in 1940 he went to work for Evans and Coleman and there was a lot of work then. He fished dogfish during the War, and he fished soup-fish (?) in the Hecate Straits which Canadian Fish Co. bought and used the liver from. He stopped work in 1960 when his back gave way. He lived in Steveston behind the present (1976) hotel. Company houses were poor but inexpensive. The Japanese had been evacuated during the War and when they returned they received a rough reception in Steveston. Steveston history. Working in the net loft. Discusses the union. Discusses canneries in operation during the 1940s. He fished the Skeena and all the way up to Portland Canal. Fishing is hard work and you have to work hard to make the money. Nylon nets are better than linen ones. Used to be all dairy farming in Steveston; now it's all built up and all that farm is lost.

Charlie Clark interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-02-13 SUMMARY: Charlie Clark recalls early days of fishing where there was all gillnetting on the river. They were all Scots fishermen. When the Japanese started fishing on the Fraser there was a war between the whites and the Japanese. Recalls stories about the Scots. Scots faded out when the Japanese came in. Japanese very honest fishermen, on the job all the time, didn't get drunk, didn't cause any trouble with the company. When renovating the cannery ten tins of salmon from 1898 were found in behind one of the walls and when opened they were just as good as when they were done. Discusses growing up in Port Alberni. Discusses seiners. Talks on fishing ecology, spawning and the complete cycle of the salmon. Thinks the Department of Fisheries looks after things pretty well. Doesn't believe it is possible for fishermen to make a living today, not enough days allowed to fish. Government should not allow herring fishing at all. Against gillnets on the spawning beds. Had five seiners once. Discusses the fishing concessions given to canneries by the government after WWI, and the conflict that ensued. Became the youngest Post Master in B.C. at the age of 17. Did that for a year and then went out in the seine boats in 1918. He was the first one to bring in the 6 day week, it used to be seven days. He went to the Padre and asked him if it wasn't against the law to work on Sundays and he said it was. So Charlie went to the company and told them it was illegal for fishermen to fish on Sunday. Then the union got started and they got two days off. Nylon nets a real blessing to fishermen, lighter and easier to look after -- as long as you don't get the sun on it, sun ruins it. Was in charge of dispatching all the boats when they went out for Nelson Bros. Discusses canneries and production rates. Was head of the union in 1926 for 6 years. He quit and they joined a bigger union. Then got his own boat and joined the Vessels Union. Early engines. Fish prices. New equipment and impact.

Charlie Gillespie interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Charlie Gillespie RECORDED: Richmond (B.C.), 1973-02-23 SUMMARY: Charlie Gillespie was born in 1916 in Vancouver. His dad started in a cannery in 1910, and worked his way up to manager. Lived on Sea Island his whole life. When three canneries joined together to make B.C. Packers in 1928, his father was made the manager of the Fraser River District. Remembers going to Star Cannery and looking out the window at the boats going out on a Sunday night. The boats had sails in those days, and they fished both night and day. More boats now (1976). Worked in the net loft one summer when he was young. Helped fill the net needles so the men could make the nets. Three years later in 1932, started work in the Great Northern Cannery in North Vancouver for 3 years. Worked in the boiler, and on the lines, then was night watchman for a while. All cannery machinery was owned by American Can Co., canneries only leased them. Discusses wages. When to the Skeena River for two years, and worked for Oceanic Cannery on Smith Island. Looked after the retort machine and the oil and gas shed. In 1937 came back down to Steveston to work in the Imperial Cannery, pipe fitting and working with the engineer, also did carpenter work. Worked in a reduction plant one winter doing odd jobs. Then went to warehouse for 2 or 3 years. No fork lifts in those days, salmon moved by hand. Bought a gillnetter, and went fishing with his dad one season. Didn't catch much fish that year, and only fished one season. After that he went to work in the stores department at Imperial. All canneries had their own stores where they sold all supplies to the fishermen. When the store closed in 1965 he moved to the stock room. Discusses the work of Chinese workers in canneries. Canning fish by hand. Describes canning. Discusses company houses. Japanese workers. Unions. Discusses employment by canneries, month to month, and season to season.

Charlie Hogan interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Charlie Hogan RECORDED: Steveston (B.C.), 1976-02-26 SUMMARY: Charlie Hogan arrived on the west coast in 1923, and got off the steamboat at Bella Bella where the Gus Mallard Cannery was. Worked at the machine shop at Bella Bella, Rivers Inlet at 13 years of age in the summer time. Discusses engines, and how hard salt water is on them. Some canneries kept their boats up very well, others just kept their boats running. Did a lot of work for any cannery boats that were fishing in the area. Spent 33 years in Bella Bella in engine machinery repair. There were up to 3,000 boats at Rivers Inlet at one time. Believes a lot of canneries closed down because of overhead costs. Discusses old canning methods. Canneries used to have wooden floors, that you could see the beach through. Back in the 1920s and 1930s the seine boats were very old, but as long as they could float and hold a net, they went out. Discusses living quarters. Discusses linen nets and caring for them. Discusses different engines used. Discusses the 1920s and 1930s when there seemed to be a wealth of fish; at night you could hear them splashing all over the bay. Overhauled engines in the wintertime. Discusses fish prices. Names all the different canneries along the coast. Indian men worked on the fish boats, while Indian women worked mostly in the cannery washing fish and filling cans. Namu had two large bunkhouses for women at that time. Namu had bowling alley, shows, dance floor; was very nice. Started working at Imperial, mostly maintenance work, was shop-foreman. Believes the canneries would look after their fishermen; if the fisherman needed money in the winter, the company would advance it to them.

Dominic Bussanich interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Dominic Bussanich RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-02-19 SUMMARY: Dominic Bussanich was born in 1904 and started fishing when he was 13 years old with his father on a gillnetter. Used to fish 5 or 6 days a week in Canoe Pass and Rivers Inlet. Built his own boats. Fished up at Rivers Inlet for 10 or 12 years. River has changed, the channels are different and fishing on it is very difficult now (1976). No fishing at all in North Arm of Fraser any more because of too much traffic. Pollution in river is terrible. The catch has decreased in the river because the gear is so efficient but also the Americans are taking most of the fish: Canadians get only 12 hours a week to fish, Americans fish 4 and 5 days. He worked on seine boats and also built boats for a living. He prefers wood boats to fibreglass and aluminum. New equipment on boats makes fishing easier. Discusses gillnetters and seiners. Talks about Japanese fishermen and their treatment during the War. Indian fishermen. Herring fishing. He fished for B.C. Packers, Canadian Fish, Bell Irving, Nelson Bros. Formed a co-op, Canoe Pass. Co-op in 1941- 1942, gillnetters. Co-op is now (1976) about 70 members and still going. Lots of changes in Delta area. Sports fishermen also take more than their share. Need to have higher prices to pay for expensive boats. He used to drive a truck in the off-season to make ends meet and then he went into boat building. Discusses reasons for poor herring fishery of 1975: greed the main reason, trying to pack too many fish. There is a need for a 200 mile limit. Discusses fishing in the north out of Prince Rupert.

Ed Sparrow interview : [Stevenson, 1976]

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Ed Sparrow RECORDED: Vancouver (B.C.), 1976-01-28 SUMMARY: Ed Sparrow was born on the Musqueam Reserve and started as a boat puller in 1911-1912 on a Columbia River sailboat. Fished and got his first sailboat in 1916. Very few gas boats then, very hard work without a gas engine. There were lots of fish those days, 5 days of fishing a week, up until the early 1940s. Palmer and Easthope engines were used first. Sailboat had only a little tent and everything was always wet. Gear improved over the years. Nets were pulled by hand until the early 1940s when drums came. Canoe Pass has changed, good fishing in old days, too shallow now, since the big flood of the 1940s. North Arm fishing died off in the early 1950s due to pollution by log booms, dead heads, and sewer outlets. Sockeyes came up only during the freshest time, now (1976) the numbers of spawners have gone down considerably. You now have to go further out to fish and the nets are nearly transparent. You fish harder because now there are only 1 to 2 days a week to make money. Its hard to get into fishing these days, it costs a lot of money. Many of the Indian fishermen went longshoring and logging and left the fishing industry. His people used to have different fish camps on the Fraser River, and they used to move with the season, many of them worked in the canneries up at Deas Island. In the early days it was mostly Indian and Japanese fishermen, very few whites. His wife worked at Imperial Cannery until 1969. He worked at the Vancouver Cannery in 1919 then went to logging camp. Indians and whites weren't organized in a union until 1915, Japanese were already well-organized. 1942 U.F.A.W.U. started to form. He was vice president of the Native Brotherhood for some time. Benefits of unions to fishermen. Eulachon was also fished by the Musqueam. Herring fishery of the 1920s. Describes his village. He is (1976) President of Musqueam Enterprises. His view on the future of the fishery. Discusses the Musqueam land claim. Recalls different canneries.

Edith Christiansen interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Edith Christiansen RECORDED: Richmond (B.C.), 1976-01-12 SUMMARY: Edith Christiansen started working in canneries in 1941 and was paid 25 cents per hour. Some health hazards. Fish all hand filled. Indians were washing fish then. Everybody got the same wages. Some herring were being produced. Fillers were paid by the tray on top of the 25 cents per hour. The faster you worked the more you were paid. Working conditions have greatly improved in the cannery -- they had no lunchroom or washroom facilities and it was so cold that the girls would stand in paper bags to keep warm. Women worked two weeks on a day shift, two weeks on a night shift, from January to April. They then filleted sole and cod, sometimes salmon. The fillets were then packaged and put in the frozen fish department. The work was very heavy for the women, especially filleting halibut. Recounts the details of filleting six-foot halibuts. Union appeared in the winter of 1942. Recounts the details of the first strike in B.C. Packers in 1942 and the eventual pay raise to 42 cents an hour. The strike lasted 8 hours. Couldn't get work in the cannery until the war era. Bunkhouses were provided for the Indians who were recruited from the North. About 12 people lived in one bunkhouse. Chinese men worked on the heading machines. During the war era there were Chinese and white foremen. The Chinese foremen were more influential. Seniority system used. Those who had worked the longest usually got paid the most as they got to work more hours. Housing provided along the dyke for people who came from any distance.

Edna Tremeer interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Edna Tremeer RECORDED: Vancouver (B.C.), 1976-01-08 SUMMARY: Edna Tremeer worked on Quadra Island in 1932 and came to Steveston in 1948. In 1932, every job was done by hand except can cutting. Kids were tied to their mother's backs. Worked from 7 am to 12 am at night, no overtime. Better quality of fish then. No day-care. Describes "steam-box" a vacuum packer. Describes the steps in processing the fish from tallyman to packing, took about 4 hours to complete and cans had to be lacquered. Women paid less than men. Non-Indians get a guaranteed income. Whites and non-whites kept separate. Piecework was more profitable, no quota set. Had dances in the net loft. The internment of Japanese during WWII allowed the native people to make more money.

Eino Ahola interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Eino Ahola RECORDED: Vancouver (B.C.), 1976-03-05 SUMMARY: Eino Ahola fished the central area all this life. Was 11 years old when he first fished in a skiff. Fished alone at age 17 in 1915. He was born in Finland in 1897, and came to B.C. at an early age. His parents settled at Sointula, Malcolm Island. Low fish prices then. When the Fins came to Canada, they weren't used to fish, and didn't consider cod as food. They did eat some shellfish. He started out with a flat-bottomed skiff in Rivers Inlet. They did most of their fishing at night, pulling their nets in at the morning. They used a square chunk of wood with license number to mark their nets, and at night they had a lantern. He was part of the founding convention of a union in 1925-26. Discusses union development and the strike of 1936. Had his first gas boat in 1925 with a 5 HP Vivian engine. Discusses engines, new equipment and changes in fishing. Each cannery had their own colour of boat to help the packers identify them: Kildala was white, Wadham was red, Brunswick was blue, Beaver was yellow, and Provincial was green. He was a camp man for 3 or 4 seasons at Storm Bay and Johnson Straits. A camp man repairs the nets for the fishermen, and manages the camp. (Tape becomes garbled due to low battery while recordings -- reduce to 1 7/8 ips). Sointula has changed from a Finnish community to one with all kinds of nationalities. He used to build boats at Sointula for 50 years in the wintertime and fished in the summer. Pilchards were fished by seiners, for the reduction plant, but one year they just disappeared, probably because of the change in water temperatures. Eino was recently made an honourary member for life of the U.F.A.W.U. for his part in union organizing. Story of the Kingcome Indians who got boats from the government but never paid for them. Tells the story about Skookum Charlie and the tourist who took his picture.

Elsie Ono interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Elsie Ono RECORDED: Steveston (B.C.), 1976-01-21 SUMMARY: Elsie Ono started working in canneries in 1938 and worked mostly in summer for B.C. Packers and Nelson Brothers. Was never paid overtime wages in early years. Her first job was washing fish, which can be a tiring job. In 1937 they were only processing salmon. The can filling was done by hand then. There were extra benefits. Before Elsie's time, the children of cannery workers were babysat by one of the cannery workers (they took turns) in a building provided by the company. The person who was babysitting was paid about the same amount she would have made in the cannery. This babysitting practice stopped during the War. B.C. Packers used to be called Imperial. A new machine that skins fish. Salmon is easier to work with than some of the different fish they are now processing. Herring was canned before the war for food. It was not processed for roe. It was packed by hand by women. The ladies worked about 8 hour shifts when they were working on herring. Before the War, there was some Chinese people working in the cannery. She lived in a 3 bedroom house provided by the company before the War. All those company houses have been torn down. The Chinese were hired by contract. The contractor would get a certain percentage of the profits accumulated by the workers. There used to be a fishermen's co-op store at the end of No. 2 Road. There were less women working in the cannery in 1937. She worked in piecework filling cans and was paid by the tray, i.e., 24 tins to the tray. She was never injured at the cannery. There never used to be a lunchroom, so the ladies ate wherever there was a space. There were no coffee breaks in 1937. The ladies would start working at 8 and work until noon with no coffee break.

Eva Vaselenek interview : [Richmond Arts Centre, 1976]

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Eva Vaselenek RECORDED: Surrey (B.C.), 1976-01-13 SUMMARY: Eva Vaselenek began work in 1943 at the Phoenix Cannery because her little girl was sick; washed and then inspected fish as they went into the cans, got paid thirty-five cents an hour. There was no union at the time. Next season she went to the Gulf of Georgia plant to work on herring. Then later to Imperial Cannery. Couldn't count on hours, depended upon whether the fish were in or not. You could sit around all day and not get paid. That changed with the union. Worked at Imperial Cannery filleting for one year. Next year became a supervisor. Describes the first organization of the union at the Imperial Cannery. Began holding meetings with management. Cannery workers became part of the U.F.A.W.U. but negotiations remained separate. Advantages of union. The return of Japanese fishermen after the War. Discusses Indian women who chose to remain outside the union, they joined the Native Brotherhood. Finally she did sign the Indian women to the union. She describes the company's reaction to her organizing attempts, and confrontation. She had to fight for every wage increase. Safety features slowly improved. Remained at the Imperial plant until 1968. Different species of fish described. She describes the changes in mechanization in the plant and dangers in the fresh fish part and the fish and chip line. Used to be a big difference in men's and women's wages, but that has changed. Describes early incident of discrimination against women. Describes the living conditions of cannery workers. Houses were rented to the workers, social conditions, dances, Christmas party, children's conditions -- no day care. Steveston is described as a "real bad place". Her children came to the cannery so she could keep an eye on them. Was laid off at 65. Her five children are all well educated now (1976). Story of being threatened by a hammer-wielding captain. Describes hectic union meetings and her ability to control them. Comments on drinking problems and liquor licenses during prohibition.

Frank Nishi interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1972-02-20 SUMMARY: Frank Nishi discusses the Japanese in Steveston; internment; life after the war; fishing rights; record runs of sockeye; cannery fire; Lethbridge. [Very little documentation is available for this tape;.];

Geiri Sigurgeirson interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Geiri Sigurgeirson RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-01-21 SUMMARY: Geiri Sigurgeirson was 83 at the time of interview in 1976, a former sailor. He was born at Lake Winnipeg at Gimli, an Icelandic community. Not much education. Came to B.C. in 1942 and worked in the cannery as a carpenter, then went to the Skeena River in 1943 and built boats there. He calls himself a boat-builder, a boat-designer; he sailed boats with his dad when he was 9 years old. Shows photos of his first boat "The Tempest". Story of the building of the boat, made with a cabin big enough to stand up in and all the other boat builders laughed at his boat saying it would blow over. Three boats went out, two blew over, the other one, his boat, towed the other two back in. The next day 3 or 4 fellows came and asked him to build them a boat! He took a boat designing course in 1910 and talks of designing the "Olympic" which took 3 years. You need to be a sailor to design a boat. He is a skipper with his captain's papers who has been all over the world. Boats got heavier, beamier and wider. Those that copied his designs ie: when he introduced the square stern, they were all double enders. He built the first square stern in 1943 on the Skeena River. He changed the whole style of boats on the west coast. Boats are mostly of fibreglass now (1976). Building is easier with modern tools and machines. Last boat he built was "Noble Savage". The companies did not like him building at less than their price. Steveston in 1943: mostly farming, potatoes, corn, cows and chickens. Large Japanese community before WWII and then they returned there was some reluctance to accept them. Discussion of the politics of the Japanese return. Steveston is a rough place now (1976), crowded, bigger but not better. Not a large Indian community. He also put the first Flare on the bow of the boat. Early boats were $2,000.00. The "Tempest" was $3,500.00 with a car engine. He was in the Navy during WWI and took convoys to Iceland for 2 to 3 years. (tape garbled, slow speed). Where boats are built now.

George Judd interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1972-03 SUMMARY: George Judd discusses: the mill: docking, expansion, competition, employees, supply, communications [?] -- U.S.A., Louisiana and Arkansas. [Very little documentation is available for this tape.];

George MacKay interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): George MacKay RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976-02-10 SUMMARY: George MacKay started working in the cannery at age seven in 1910. In 1913 he worked in a net loft for 5 cents an hour. Discusses the Chinese kids who worked in the cannery. In 1921-1922 he worked for the Gulf of Georgia on collect boats. At that time the Gulf of Georgia was also referred to as the Desbrisary Canning Company because it was owned by the Desbrisary Brothers. Explains the operation of collect boats. Says all the canneries at that time had collect boats with white tallymen. Most of the fishermen were Japanese. In 1923 he took a trade to become a machinist. Worked for Ross & Windburn for 10 years. Explains cannery machinery, and making of cans. Discusses the exploitation of Chinese labour and the deplorable living conditions. Talks about the Indians and discusses the Indian living conditions in the cannery owned houses. Talks about the Indian graves that the canneries bulldozed over for buildings. They were mostly children's graves that had died of disease. Indians generally discriminated against. Speaks of the 1913 "big salmon run" after which there was a slide at Hell's Gate and the fish dropped in numbers. Fishermen were limited to 200 sockeye a boat at 5 cents a piece. His father, David MacKay, built the Brunswick Cannery in 1893. Grandfather was manager of the Atlas cannery for years. Also ran the reduction plan called the "Oilery" on MacMillan Island. Talks about working for B.C. Packers and moving the oyster beds. No strikes during the War. Linemen and machine men were getting $150.00 a month and board during the 1930s. During the war, workers got a lot more work. Went back to cannery 1942-1969. Thinks union is good but may be going a little too far. Discusses early union organization and union benefits. In 1913 his uncle and Captain Gus were running the Steveston cannery, they had no Iron Chink, they butchered by hand and cleared a profit of $10,000 each. Discusses different canneries. Gas engines came in 1913. Different jobs performed over time.

George Norton Fentiman interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1972-02-23 SUMMARY: George Norton Fentiman discusses the history of Richmond: roads, hunting, agriculture, ditches, buildings, events, cemeteries, canneries, bootlegging, flood, oil jobs, horse epidemic, water supplies, etc. [Very little documentation is available for these tapes.]

Greta Cheverton interview

CALL NUMBER: T0252:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Growing up in Richmond RECORDED: Richmond (B.C.), 1972-05-06 SUMMARY: Mrs. G. Cheverton discusses her childhood in Richmond, including: sickness, school, churches, stores and fishing. [Very little documentation is available for this tape.];

CALL NUMBER: T0252:0002 RECORDED: Richmond (B.C.), 1972-05-06 SUMMARY: Mrs. G. Cheverton describes housing, canneries and the Japanese of Richmond. [Very little documentation is available for this tape.];

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